In the Classroom: The Hawks and Eagles

Hawks and Eagle with Do Not Litter signs
What Will They Come Up with Next?

Submitted by Eagles Lead Teacher Carolanne Mitchell

The Hawks and Eagles’ Nature is Awesome! Club was started last year with the intention of getting kids outside and connecting them with nature on a regular basis.
We are fortunate to be in an area with lots of trees, flowers, and nearby natural spaces to explore. I want to help these city kids experience nature in a meaningful way, something that was so important to me growing up in a rural part of Massachusetts. 
We recently went outside to the Penn Alexander schoolyard on a drizzly Wednesday in search of signs of spring. After looking around for flowers and buds, the kids noticed something distressing. There was litter everywhere! Litter in the grass, litter on the playground, litter next to the trash can. 
The kids in the club found this deeply upsetting and immediately got to work picking up the trash without any prompting from me. We went inside and got gloves and trash bags to tackle the job more efficiently and cleaned up as much as we could. The club members even decided to make posters to urge their classmates not to litter. 
I was so impressed to see these second graders take the initiative to clean up their schoolyard, even though it wasn’t what I had planned for the club that day. Often, teachers go in with a plan, but the kids have a different idea, maybe a better idea. 
In the After School program, we try to be flexible so we can respond to the needs and the interests of the children. Sometimes they surprise us by taking the lead on their own. This was one of those times and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!